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Volney Mathison

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Volney G. Mathison
Born August 13, 1897(1897-08-13)
Died January 3, 1965 (aged 67)
Nationality United States
Other names Dex Volney
Occupation Writer, Inventor
Known for Inventor of the E-meter

Volney G. Mathison, also known by the pseudonym Dex Volney (August 13, 1897 – January 3, 1965), was an American chiropractor, writer, and inventor of the E-meter.[1][2]


In 1935, Mathison was married to Jean Darrell, a music librarian for NBC.[3] She died in November 1964.[4]



Dust jacket of The Radiobuster by Volney G. Mathison

In 1921, Mathison wrote the fictional short story "A Phony Phone", which was published in Radio News edited by Hugo Gernsback.[5] In 1924, he wrote the fictional book The Radiobuster: Being Some of the Adventures of Samuel Jones, Deep Sea Wireless Operator.[6] The book is listed in American Fiction, 1901-1925: A Bibliography.[6] Mathison's story "The Death Bottle" was published in Weird Tales in March 1925.[7] He also wrote stories which were published under the pseudonym of "Dex Volney".[7] His pieces as "Dex Volney" were of the Western genre, and set in Alaska.[7] According to Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years, Mathison was "a prolific author" under this pseudonym.[7] As Dex Volney, he wrote popular stories published by Street & Smith.[8]

In the June 1929 issue of Amazing Stories, Mathison's story "The Mongolian's Ray" appeared and was promoted on the cover.[9] Forrest J. Ackerman and Brad Linaweaver write in the book Worlds of Tomorrow, "In this story, he created the fictional device that shortly after the introduction of Dianetics, morphed into reality as the E-meter employed today to supposedly reveal the personalities of individuals interested in becoming 'clears' in the Dianetic regimen."[9] Mathison's story "Thor Olsen's Ace" was selected for inclusion in The World's Best Short Stories of 1930.[10]


In 1935, Mathison was employed building short wave radios.[3] Mathison invented a device called an electroencephaloneuromentimograph or E-meter.[11] He came up with the design for the device and subsequently built it in the 1940s.[12] It was initially known as the "Mathison Electropsychometer".[13] The E-meter "has a needle that swings back and forth across a scale when a patient holds on to two electrical contacts".[1] Mathison was a chiropractor and psychoanalyst.[1][11][14][15] He used the device with his patients in order to investigate their inner problems.[13] He then employed self-hypnosis tapes, and instructed his patients to use these in order to address their "inner" issues.[13] The device became popular and was used among other chiropractors.[1] John Freeman writes in Suppressed and Incredible Inventions, "Recalling my visits at the height of his career, I remember that, while his results were outstanding, he was typically fought by the Medical Profession."[13]

Volney Mathison uses an E-meter to analyze a patient, circa 1951

Mathison was a follower of Dianetics founded by L. Ron Hubbard.[12] Hubbard incorporated Mathison's device into Scientology practices.[11] Hubbard often called the inventor of the E-meter simply "Mathison" in his writings.[11] According to author Paulette Cooper, Scientologists erroneously referred to the inventor of the E-meter as "Olin Mathison".[11]

After establishing usage of the E-meter in Dianetics, Hubbard sought for Mathison to turn over patent rights of the device to him.[14][15] Mathison refused to give up the patent rights over the device, wishing that it remain the "Mathison E-meter".[14][15][16] Usage of the E-meter in Dianetics practices was subsequently stopped by Hubbard in 1954.[15][16] In writing that use of the E-meter should be discontinued, Hubbard said, "Yesterday, we used an instrument called an E-Meter to register whether or not the process was still getting results so that the auditor would know how long to continue it. While the E-Meter is an interesting investigation instrument and has played its part in research, it is not today used by the auditor.... As we long ago suspected, the intervention of a Template:Sic gadget between the auditor and the preclear had a tendency to depersonalize the session...."[16] Scientology engineers manufactured a similar type of E-meter device, and this began usage in the movement in 1958.[14][15] The version of the E-meter developed by Joe Wallis and Don Breeding was powered by a battery and was smaller than Mathison's device.[16] This device was called the "Hubbard electrometer", and was seen as a necessary part of the Scientology practice of "Auditing".[16] In 1966, Hubbard received a patent in the United States for a "Device for Measuring and Indicating Changes in Resistance of a Living Body".[14][15]

Mathison never litigated the appropriation of his invention, but he felt bitter and disillusioned about Hubbard. Mathison remarked in 1964, "I decry the doings of trivial fakers who glibly denounce hypnosis and then try covertly to use it in their phony systems".[17]



  • Mathison, Volney G. (1924). The Radiobuster: Being Some of the Adventures of Samuel Jones, Deep Sea Wireless Operator. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Frederick A. Stokes Company. OCLC 6869013. 


  • Volney, Dex (1927). "Beginning the Story". in Hills, William Henry; Luce, Robert. The Writer. p. 57. Volume 39. 
  • Mathison, Volney G. (1954). Creative Image Therapy. Mathison Electropsychometer. OCLC 55984760. 
  • Mathison, Volney G. (1955). Electropsychometry. V. G. Mathison. OCLC 57001177. 
  • Mathison, Volney G. (1956). How to Achieve Past Life Recalls. Quincy, Massachusetts: Institute of Physical and Mental Development. OCLC 42019616. 
  • Mathison, Volney G. (1956). The Secret of the Lourdes Miracles Revealed. Los Angeles, California: Mathison Electropsychometers. OCLC 49324997. 
  • Mathison, Volney G. (1957). Practical Self-Hypnosis: How to Achieve and Effectively to Use Hypnosis Without the Presence of an Operator. Mathison Electro Psychometers. OCLC 54514206. 
  • Mathison, Volney G. (1957). Space-Age Self Hypnosis. 
  • Mathison, Volney G. (1958). The Secret Power of the Crystal Pendulum. Institute of Self Hypnosis. 

See also


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named singh
  2. Nadali, Giorgio (June 8, 2009). "Processo a Scientology : Rischia la chiusura definitiva in Francia la psicosetta fondata dallo scrittore Ron Hubbard". Affari Italiani ( Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nye, Carroll (May 15, 1935). "Night races to go on air". Los Angeles Times: p. 6. 
  4. Los Angeles Times staff (November 13, 1964). "Deaths, Funeral Announcements". Los Angeles Times: p. B17. 
  5. Ashley, Michael; Robert A. W. Lowndes (2004). The Gernsback Days. Wildside Press. p. 418. ISBN 0-8095-1055-3. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Smith, Geoffrey Dayton (1997). American Fiction, 1901-1925: A Bibliography. Cambridge University Press. p. 455. ISBN 0-521-43469-6. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Bleiler, Everett F. (1998). Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years: A complete coverage of the genre magazines Amazing, Astounding, Wonder, and others from 1926 through 1936. Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press. p. 281. ISBN 0-87338-604-3. 
  8. Tuska, Jon (1999). Stories of the far North. University of Nebraska Press. p. xv. ISBN 0-8032-9434-4. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ackerman, Forrest J.; Brad Linaweaver (2004). Worlds of Tomorrow: The Amazing Universe of Science Fiction Art. Collectors Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-888054-93-4. 
  10. The World's Best Short Stories of 1930. New York: Minton, Balch. 1930. p. 308. OCLC 3373283. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Cooper, Paulette (1971). The Scandal of Scientology. New York: Tower Publications. pp. 145–146. OCLC 921001. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Atack, Jon (1990). A Piece of Blue Sky. New York: Carol Publishing Group. pp. 128–129. ISBN 0-8184-0499-X. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Freeman, John (1987). Suppressed and Incredible Inventions. Health Research. p. 41. ISBN 0-7873-1091-3. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Pilkington, Mark (February 17, 2005). "Clear thinking". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 Pilkington, Mark (2007). Far Out: 101 Strange Tales from Science's Outer Edge. The Disinformation Company. pp. 85–87. ISBN 1-932857-87-7. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Corydon, Bent (1992). L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?. Barricade Books. pp. 332–333. ISBN 0-942637-57-7. 
  17. Müller, Tilo (2010). Dianetik und Scientology in ihrem Anspruch als Wissenschaft. GRIN Verlag. pp. 32. ISBN 978-3-640-58010-1. "Mathison stated: "I decry the doings of trivial fakers, such as scientologists and the like, who glibly denounce hypnosis and then try covertly to use it in their phony systems"" 

Further reading

External links